2010 NFL Draft: San Diego Chargers Team Needs
The Chargers were only a game away from returning to the AFC Championship in ’09, but late-season heroics by the Jets diverted them away from what looked like a possible Super Bowl berth.
Although San Diego looked like a complete team last season, they have a lot of areas to address this offseason. LaDainian Tomlinson is out and it’s more than a minute possibility that Sproles will exit by way of free agency.
There are a number of other key position players that may very well part ways with the team in free agency. Vincent Jackson, Malcolm Floyd, Kassim Osgood, Marcus McNeill, and Shawne Merriman are all starters whose contracts have expired.
Biggest Needs: RB, WR, OL
With Tomlinson and Sproles out, it appears San Diego will go after a feature back in the draft and maybe even a wild-card third-down back in free agency. With the 28th pick in the draft and a lush defensive class in April, the Chargers have a legitimate shot at acquiring a decent back to take over for the future.
Jonathan Dwyer of Georgia Tech and Charles Scott of LSU are both quick, bruising backs who could contribute immediately in Norv Turner’s style of running. If the front office goes after a veteran feature back in free agency and a developmental back in the draft, Toby Gerhart or Ryan Matthews would be smart picks, too.
Vincent Jackson has been in the news lately for a DUI charge and may not be available immediately at the start of the season. That, paired with the possibility of losing Floyd and Osgood, opens the door for picking up a dynamite wideout in the first or second round.
Damien Williams is the premier route runner in his class, but a guy Brandon LaFell is the big body type Chargers fans have become familiar with. Clemson’s Jacoby Ford would provide a great slot option and an honorable replacement as a return man, as well.
The offensive line is one of the key areas to improve upon in the offseason for the Chargers. Nick Hardwick has struggled with injuries and when he isn’t on the field, the line really struggles to protect. Marcus McNeill, should he stay, and Louis Vasquez are both good contributors who are decent starters, but need a rotation behind them in case of a lack of production or injury. A backup for Hardwick is among the few upgrades the front office needs to address.
Biggest Needs: DL, S
The defensive line had a breakdown when the team lost Jamal Williams early in the season and didn’t have a proper rotation behind him to make up for it. Williams’ age is becoming evident and it’s high time the Chargers work to upgrade the nose tackle position.
The team isn’t known for taking high-pick defensive lineman. Rather, their usual mantra is taking late round acquisitions and undrafted free agents and turning them into rotation players.
With a late pick in each round, it’s unclear whether or not they will be able to grab someone who can contribute immediately, but a guy like Cam Thomas or Terrence Cody may be around late in the first. If not, Jay Ross and Al Woods are both hefty tackles who can command space and add some much needed depth to the defensive line’s rotation.
Jacques Cesaire and Ogemdi Nwagbuo are decent bookends but not the elite pass rushers San Diego would like to have. Again, the team isn’t known to spend atrocious amounts of money on positions like theirs, but some late round pickups like Arther Jones or C.J. Wilson could really boost the line.
Steve Gregory is not a sufficient safety so expect the team to keep an eye on possible depth-contributors or even muster up a contract to entice Sharper or Rolle. Either way, safety is a position that can not go overlooked for another year.
With several key players on the verge of departing through free agency and the possibility of losing Williams to retirement, the Chargers have some serious contemplation to undergo if they plan on continuing their contention in the NFL. They are still a step or two away from being a complete team and a little luck in the draft is all need if they intend to do that.